Daily Archives: April 17, 2008

When I Relax, I Feel Guilty

That’s the title of a book written sometime in the last 20 or 30 years. I’ve never read beyond the title, but the concept resonates with me.

More than 3 people have told me that they don’t understand why I am so hard on myself about reading novels. They look at me with confused faces and ask what could be so bad about reading a novel? Indeed.

Well. IF you have a to-do list that ain’t to-done, and IF you have a special needs child that will do well with one hour of personal attention from mom in a day and even BETTER with two or three or four hours, and IF you homeschool four students, and IF you are a stay-at-home mom who never is caught up on laundry, meal planning, cleaning, or decluttering, I SUPPOSE a case could be made that you don’t really have time to relax.

But I SUPPOSE a case might also be able to be made that ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES SIOUXSIE A DULL BOY. Not to mention a FAT BOY, a STRESSED-OUT BOY, and an UNHAPPY BOY.

And we know that if MAMA ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Eh? Full of pithy sayings this a.m.

Well, MAMA ain’t happy.

In a big-picture sense, I have an appreciation for the blessings I experience every day — my cool husband, my great kids, my comfortable home, my excellent health, music, sunshine, sweet memories, and many more too numerous to mention. In a day-to-day sense, though, I see that embracing the idea that I SHOULD feel guilty when I relax really sucks (sorry mom if you read this). REALLY. sucks.

I made a list last night of things I have enjoyed over the years, such as singing in a band, working out and lifting weights, spending time in the wilderness, wearing clothes I really like, making things, playing games, and others. I found that many of the items on that list are not things I am making time for right now. Why? Is it because I don’t want to be happy, as a friend suggested yesterday? Is it because I am afraid that I am doing something wrong if I don’t have my Responsibility Meter in the red zone? Is it because I don’t think I deserve to do things that I enjoy? Is it because it’s a lot easier to choose things that provide momentary pleasure, such as ice cream, and really only take a minute or two, and can be stuffed into a responsibility-driven day?

I’m just back from a walk. I feel great. I’m listening to my blog music — all songs I really love. Walking is relaxing. Listening to my music is relaxing. Blogging is relaxing. There’s a little nagging feeling in there that says I BETTER get moving since I’m supposed to be somewhere at 10, actually two places, or even three, but I’m only planning to go to the one place.

Today the step I will take to treat myself nicer is to send my ipod, which currently is in a coma, to iRescue to see if it can be fixed. The music on my ipod makes me smile. And I think smiling is something I want to do a whole lot more of.

Enjoy your day. Take good care of yourself. Love yourself and the people who are in your life. I will if you will.


That is the sound of a whip. Pretty good, eh?

Have come to an important realization today that when I was a little bitty thing I got this idea that I should not have fun because I needed to be very responsible for many things in the life of my family. Actually, I already knew that. What I realized today is that I have, in a sense, put myself into that same place through decisions made as an adult. More later. I just didn’t want to forget this idea because changes are necessary. (That’s not what the whip is about. I’m just usually feeling behind and guilty and the whip keeps me in line. Sort of.)